The UK government is wanting children to start returning to school as early as 1st June 2020.
Initially this would be for pupils of primary age – Year 6, Year 1 and Reception – with schools having to follow social distancing rules when appropriate.
This return is being hotly debated. Unions are not keen on safety grounds, and some doctors have agreed with this. However many academy chains have thrown their weight behind the government plans.
At the core of the debate is the balance of risk between the risks of children spreading or contracting CV-19 versus the damage to the educational prospects of children not receiving proper schooling, felt much more keenly in poorer communities.
Secondary schools are unlikely to return until September 2020, though students in the first year of GCSEs and A Levels (Year 10 and 12) may have some teaching time before the end of term.
Most nurseries are looking to open from 1st June.
Universities are still unsure how much campus activity will be possible from the Autumn onwards.
Many countries are looking to phase the partial reopening of schools over the remainder of the academic year but some are keeping schools closed until the Autumn.
In the UK it is a mixed picture – in England, primary schools may start to reopen on 1st June if circumstances allow. It is unlikely secondary school will open before September apart from for key exam year groups, Years 10 and 12.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not committing to a timetable for reopening.
Across Europe a number of other countries are reopening their education systems – including Germany, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Greece – all slowly allowing children back to school.
It will probably not be a full school schedule – a mixture of online home teaching and staggered timetable within schools, with different age groups allowed to attend on different days.
Some countries – Republic of Ireland, Italy and effectively Spain are staying closed until the Autumn.
A key thing to remember is that school admissions offices are largely open – and any families thinking about a move in the Autumn (as most families probably will be) can start planning now – especially in independent and international school sectors.
Practically, families won’t be able to visit schools but many schools have set up virtual tours / open events that allow parents to speak to key teachers and view facilities.